Food & Drink

Where to Find Comfort Food in Portland

Pasta, Dumplings, and More
November 30, 2022
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Slurp some lovingly handmade pasta at the Piedmontese-inspired Pastificio d’Oro. (Pastificio d’Oro)
As we transition into the season of pre-5 pm sunsets, we could all use some soul-warming nourishment to bolster our spirits. We've compiled this list of fortifying options, including noodle soups, pizza, dumplings, pasta, soul food, and more, so you can get your comfort food fix. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.

PIZZA

Apizza Scholls
Serious Eats founder Ed Levine once dubbed this "Neo-Neapolitan" pizza destination "one of the top five pizzerias in America."
Sunnyside
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Ken's Artisan Pizza Add to a List
Grab a cheesy pie topped with Calabrian chiles and fennel sausage or mortadella and charred leeks at noted bread baker Ken Forkish's wood-fired pizzeria, which was declared Add to a List the "57th best" pizzeria in the world at the annual 50 Top Pizza award ceremony in Napoli in September. Add on a Caesar salad and a side of meatballs in tangy tomato sauce for a hearty, warming winter meal.
Kerns
Pickup, dine-in

Lovely's Fifty-Fifty Add to a List
Sarah Minnick's acclaimed wood-fired pizzeria, which was recently featured Add to a List on Chef's Table: Pizza on Netflix, serves exquisite artisan pies with seasonally inspired toppings like squash and ricotta or chanterelle mushrooms.
Boise
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Pizza Jerk
You'll find offbeat combinations like the "Clam Jam" (made with a white wine cream sauce and clams) and the "It's Always Sunny in Cully" (pepperoni, pineapple, Bunk Sandwiches hot peppers, basil, and honey) at this Connecticut-inspired pizza parlor with Portland punk rock sensibility. The menu also includes salads, beer, boozy slushies, soft serve ice cream, and Rice Krispie treats.
Downtown, Buckman, Cully
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Pizza Thief Add to a List
Darby Aldaco (a former executive chef at Nancy Silverton's acclaimed Triple Beam Pizza) and Tony Pasquale run this pizzeria serving naturally leavened pies, with an adjoining cocktail lounge called Bandit Bar Add to a List  through the archway. Toppings run the gamut from local produce to house-made sausage. In addition to whole pizzas and slices, the menu also includes whole or by-the-slice focaccia, hand pies, and triple chocolate-hazelnut cookies.
Nob Hill
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Scottie's Pizza Parlor Add to a List
Brooklyn transplant Scottie Rivera produces some of the most sought-after pizza in Portland, using naturally leavened dough made with Pacific Northwest-grown wheat. Toppings range from Calabrian chilis to cilantro arugula pesto.
Hosford-Abernethy
Pickup, dine-in

PASTA

Gabbiano's Add to a List
Ready for red sauce? David Sigal and Blake Foster, the duo behind the cocktail pop-up Zoo Bar, opened this Italian-American restaurant in Concordia in January, with a menu that includes chicken parmesan, mozzarella sticks, meatballs, duck marsala, sourdough ricotta gnocchi, lamb shank osso bucco, and other comforting dishes.
Concordia
Pickup, dine-in


Gumba Add to a List
Fried chicken and fresh handmade pasta in the same place is a comfort food dream come true, and it's also a reality thanks to this Northeast food cart.
Vernon
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

MAC'D Add to a List
The childhood classic mac and cheese gets souped up with extras like bacon, pesto, and hot Cheetos at this fast-casual takeout window. You can go for a pre-set bowl like the "Goddess" (melted jack and garlic) or the "Hellapeño" (honey jalapeño), or build your own creation.
Westmoreland
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Pastificio d’Oro Add to a List
Chase Dopson and Maggie Irwin's handmade pasta pop-up Pastificio d’Oro opened a permanent location in the former Gracie's Apizza Add to a List space in November. The cozy Piedmontese spot offers regional specialties like squash-stuffed tortelli and tagliatelle with ragu, in addition to antipasti, dessert, and wine.
St. Johns
Pickup, dine-in

DUMPLINGS

Bao Bao
Nothing says comfort like a pile of pillowy dumplings, like the traditional Chinese ones from this popular steamed bun and dumpling house.
East Burnside
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Duck House Chinese Restaurant Add to a List
This former taproom turned Szechuan Chinese joint has become famous citywide for their delectable, must-have xiao long bao (steamed buns, $12.95-13.95), wontons ($10.95), and dumplings—seriously, if you’re not eating their delicious lamb dumplings ($11.95) at this very moment, you need to make some serious life corrections. But neither should you sleep on their more standard Szechuan fare, in particular their Mongolian beef ($14.95). I love this stuff. Spicy, marinated beef tossed in an array of peppers and grilled onions, this dish is a meaty, mouth-rockin’ pleasure from start to finish. (And smart diners swing by for their great lunch specials [$9.95] in order to beat the lines that form every night for dinner.) To make matters even better, their fantastic service is always on point, so... I’m sorry, but what are you waiting for? WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Downtown
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Kachka Add to a List
No one does Eastern European comfort food quite like chef Bonnie Morales's nationally acclaimed Kachka. The restaurant has plenty of options to warm your soul from within, including pelmeni, vareniki, rabbit in a clay pot, and more.
Buckman
Pickup, dine-in

Mama Chow's Kitchen Add to a List
This food cart favorite dispenses pan-fried chicken dumplings and a restorative wonton soup.
Downtown
Pickup, dine-in

Toki Add to a List
This playful restaurant from Peter Cho and Sun Young Park (the team behind the celebrated Han Oak Add to a List ) features modern Korean comfort food like bao burgers, Korean fried chicken, pork dumplings, Spam hand rolls, hand-pulled noodles in chili oil, and the TikTok-inspired "gimbap supreme" (a rice sandwich with vegetables, crispy fried nori, and soy mustard sauce).
Downtown
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

XLB Add to a List
This fast-casual counter-serve joint is a favorite for soup dumplings, baozi (yeast-leavened buns stuffed with fillings), wok-fried noodles, popcorn chicken, and other Chinese comfort food.
Boise
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

SOUTHERN FOOD

Delta Cafe Add to a List
The iconic soul food destination is a prime spot for homestyle favorites like po' boys, fried chicken, pulled pork, chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, and more.
Woodstock
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Miss Delta
This down-home Southern joint was opened by Delta Cafe owners Anastasia Corya and Anton Pace in 2007, along with cooks Jennifer Hazzard and Chuck Westmoreland, serving up soulful favorites like hush puppies, gumbo, po'boys, jambalaya, fried chicken, and "trashy mac" in a variety of flavors.
Boise
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Po'Shines
This Black-owned Cajun and barbecue restaurant and church-operated nonprofit in Kenton is the place to go for a taste of Southern hospitality, dishing up homey plates like fried chicken and waffles, blackened catfish, po'boys, brisket, ribs, and pulled pork.
Kenton
Pickup, dine-in

Trap Kitchen PDX
Malachi (a.k.a. "Chef Spank") and his best friend Roberto (a.k.a. "Sous Chef News"), members of rival gangs, partnered up to create the "underground culinary sensation" Trap Kitchen, a wildly popular Compton-based pop-up and catering company that counts Kendrick Lamar and SZA among its fans. The business's Portland outpost features the brand's signature "pineapple boats" with jasmine rice-filled pineapples and meat, as well as craveable comfort food like seafood gumbo, oxtails, enchilada pie, Cajun alfredo pasta, pastrami sandwiches, garlic fries, four-cheese mac and cheese, and the popular "Marth and Snoop" (blueberry waffles and fried chicken).
Old Town-Chinatown
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

NOODLE SOUPS

Afuri / Afuri Ramen + Dumpling
This much-buzzed-about Tokyo ramen chain has locations in Beaverton Add to a List , Buckman Add to a List , Old Town-Chinatown Add to a List , and Slabtown Add to a List . The spot is famous for its specialty, a bright, well-balanced yuzu shio ramen, but its creamy sesame tantanmen, available with a rich tonkotsu or vegan hazelnut broth, is equally worth a try.
Beaverton, Buckman, Old Town-Chinatown
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Butterfly Belly Asian Cuisine Add to a List
Though they're most proud of their bone broth beef pho—their bone broth is cooked for 48-hours to get all that delicious flavor—Butterfly Belly is also an underground hit with gluten-free eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. Butterfly advertises a dedicated gluten-free menu, and their menu is vast—everything from sweet potato fries to Vietnamese fusion tofu tacos! If you're a meat-eater, I heartily recommend their OMG Pho, which comes with delicious cuts of brisket and steak. The broth is everything they promised and more. But their Garden Pho, with its shiitake mushroom broth, is also a major crowd-pleaser and they pack the bowl with plenty of veggies. SUZETTE SMITH
Pearl District 
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Gado Gado Add to a List
The menu at Thomas and Mariah Pisha-Duffly's acclaimed Indonesian-Chinese restaurant is full of deeply comforting dishes like chicken and leek dumplings, bakso noodle soup with pork meatballs and wonton noodles, and Sumatran-style beef rendang (a rich, spicy beef stew).
Hollywood
Dine-in


Kayo's Ramen Bar Add to a List
Soothe your soul with a bowl of this authentic ramen bar's signature tan tan (a Japanese take on dan-dan noodles, a spicy, creamy Sichuan specialty), or any of their other ramen dishes.
Boise
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Mugen Noodle Bar Add to a List
Have your very own Tampopo moment and warm up with a bowl of steaming ramen from this family-owned noodle bar, which specializes in tori paitan broth (similar to a chicken-based version of the popular creamy pork broth tonkotsu).
Tigard
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Pho Oregon Add to a List
Sate your craving for aromatic broth and slurpable noodles at this pho restaurant, often cited as one of the best in the state.
Madison
Pickup, dine-in

Rose VL Add to a List  and Ha VL Add to a List
Former Portland Mercury restaurant critic Andrea Damewood calls these sister restaurants "definitively the best places to eat soup in Portland." She writes, "James Beard-nominated Rose VL throws down the three best soups on its menu each Saturday: the super rare cao lau, a memorable Mi Quang, and a chicken curry noodle that won’t quit. Cao lau, which is technically dry noodles served with a side of broth, is shamefully unheard of in the US; because this specialty from the central Vietnam city of Hoi An heaps crispy pork bites, crackers, chicken, and all the fresh herbs over tapioca noodles for a truly wonderful bite. The turmeric noodles and curry noodle are also served at Ha VL, but you should just go to Rose VL every Saturday for the rest of your life." She also recommends the crabflake noodle soup at Ha VL, writing, "If you haven’t been to Ha VL, start with this unusual thick-brothed baby filled with udon-thick rice noodles, crab flakes, straw mushrooms, quail eggs, shrimp, and shredded pork meatloaf. It’s among their finest soups, and certainly one you won’t find anywhere else (other than Rose VL on Thursdays)."
Foster-Powell, Jade District
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Xinh Xinh Vietnamese Bistro Add to a List
XinhXinh's beef pho forced me back into a wholly human state. My main rave is their broth, which bursts with wonderful aromatic spices. There's more cinnamon and star anise than in other pho I've tasted, but XinhXinh really makes it work—it's not overpowering, just lovely and unique. Their vegetables game is likewise strong (although I did order extra veggies), with mushrooms, broccoli, and bok choy all making it into my bowl. SUZETTE SMITH
Buckman
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

SOUPS

Nak Won Add to a List
Beaverton is home to many excellent Korean restaurants, but this hole-in-the-wall, beloved for its free banchan and generous portions, is consistently named as a standout. For extra comfort, try the oddly satisfying "Saving Private Ryan Canned Goods" military stew (a Korean soup with Spam, sausage, bacon, ramen, tofu, and vegetables), the fiery red kimchi stew, sundubu jjigae, beef bone broth soup, spicy seafood noodle stew, or the "Comfort Buttercup" (beef rib soup).
Beaverton
Pickup, dine-in

Portland Kettle Add to a List
This counter-serve cafe is on a mission to "nourish Portland one home-cooked meal at a time" and does just that with dishes like cheese tortelloni with pesto, tater tot casserole, chicken noodle soup, chili, gumbo, and pastrami sandwiches.
Downtown
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

MISCELLANEOUS

Gravy Add to a List
This beloved breakfast spot serves hefty portions of pancakes, oatmeal, challah French toast, chicken fried steak, salmon hash, and other diner-style favorites.
Mississippi
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Papa Haydn Add to a List
The longtime Portland mainstay has hearty classics like French onion soup, chili, croque monsieur, house-made fettuccine with mushrooms and cream sauce, and more. Don't forget some sweets from their famous display case for dessert.
Nob Hill, Westmoreland
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Grilled Cheese Grill Add to a List
The beloved Knock Back reopened Add to a List earlier this year under new ownership from fellow Alberta Street fixture Donnie Vegas Add to a List , and the food cart Grilled Cheese Grill now runs the kitchen, slinging its signature Cheesus (a burger with grilled cheese sandwiches in place of buns), patty melts, soups, breakfast sandwiches, house-made ice cream, and cookies.
Concordia
Pickup, dine-in

GrindWitTryz Add to a List
The buzzworthy Hawaiian-Filipino cart-turned-restaurant, beloved for its Oahu-style comfort cuisine, serves "ono" (delicious) dishes like katsu-breaded ahi, kalbi short ribs, and meat jun (marinated beef battered in egg and fried).
Alberta Arts District
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

The Rambler Add to a List
This North Portland tavern has a menu of filling gastropub fare, including poutine, smoked brisket chili, Frito pie, mac and cheese, and smash burgers.
Boise
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

VEGAN

Plant Based Papi Add to a List
Owned and run by Jewan Manuel (AKA the Plant Based Papi himself), the creative menu at this Latin American-inspired vegan restaurant is constantly changing. With mouthwatering photos of dishes like truffle mac and cheese and chick’n sandwiches, business at the Black-owned brick-and-mortar experienced a big boom during the pandemic, selling out online orders in under 10 minutes. With his kitchen takeover at Fortune, he also brings some much-needed gourmet vegan food to SW Portland in a super swanky bar setting. JENNI MOORE
Buckman
Pickup

Vegan Junk Food Add to a List
In a city that’s gained a reputation for elevated vegan cuisine, plant-based eaters can now find things like meatless burgers, dairy-free pizzas, and corn dogs not constituted from spare parts under one roof. Vegan Junk Food is now slinging vegan junk food for the masses in their very own dining room. Folks who find themselves missing a certain iconic fast food item can find the Crunchywrap Superior in the “tortilla” section menu, which also includes birria tacos, a Mexican dish which has gained popularity in the States in recent years. JANEY WONG
Creston-Kenilworth

Pickup, delivery, dine-in

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